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Protecting our precious places

Central Otago - Mahu Whenua

The Mahu Whenua covenants were established in September 2015. The covenants are located on four high country stations: Coronet Peak, Glencoe, Mount Soho and Motatapu which are subject to permanently renewable Crown Pastoral leases held by Soho Property Limited. The sole shareholder of Soho Property Limited is Switzerland based music producer Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange.


(The Polnoon Route - Photo Stephen Jacquery ODT)

Soho Property entered into a partnership with the Trust to ensure the protection of around 53000 hectares of iconic New Zealand high country. The resulting Open Space Covenants were formally registered on the 2 February 2015 and officially opened by the National Trust’s Patron, His Excellency, Lt Gen the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand on 7 March 2015.

The Mahu Whenua covenants make an outstanding contribution towards protecting one of New Zealand’s most iconic natural and cultural landscapes.

The covenants protect high alpine environments, alpine and montane grasslands, wetlands, riparian zones, forest and shrubland remnants. The landscape is overlain with a rich suite of gold mining archaeological sites which showcase a long mining history spanning from the discovery of gold in the Shotover and Arrow Rivers in 1862 through to the depression era.

Before European settlement, Ngāi Tahu moved around nearly the whole of Te Waipounamu (South Island), hunting and gathering a range of resources. Movements were according to the seasons, following the lifecycles of animals and plants. The high country was a fundamental element of these systematic seasonal food gathering patterns.


(Brow Peak Route)

Today, a network of tracks and marked routes provide for public access and enjoyment over large parts of the covenants.

The links below provide access to maps of walking and biking tracks ranging from short walks to challenging day trips some of which can form part of multi days trips in conjunction with neighbouring public conservation land.

Backcountry tracks may be unformed and lightly marked and in locations with no huts or shelters. Users are urged to follow the link to Backcountry Safety Information before planning their trip.

Maps and information about the tracks can be downloaded here:

Mahu Whenua Walking Tracks - Arrowtown Tracks

Mahu Whenua Walking Tracks - from Andersons Battery

Mahu Whenua Walking Tracks - From Arrowtown to Polnoon trail

Mahu Whenua Walking Tracks - Arrowtown Tracks - Topo50 basemap

Please refer to the Te Araroa website and Department of Conservation website for information on the Te Araroa Track (New Zealand’s Trail) which traverses the Mahu Whenua Coveannts, linking Glendhu Bay with Arrowtown.

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